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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  February 28, 2014 10:00pm-12:01am EST

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prebargaining, but when you have mandatory minimum sentences, you have a multiplicity of charges that can be brought against the defendant, you have forfeitures, often mandatory, that can ruin somebody financially. you have extremely harsh sentences, vague doctrines of like wilful blindness that increase the chances of conviction em. when that's the arena and the defendant is looking at a choice between pleading guilty, even if he thinks he is not, and getting two or three years, and risking going to trial and perhaps betting 20 years and a million dollar forfeiture, many differents will decide to cut their losses to have more trials, many different aspects of the federal system need to change in the direction of fairness. >> one other point. i can't remember the last time a corporation went to trial, because it is literally impossible for corporations to
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revis prosecutors because of defined, market value problems, all kinds of different kinds of penalties that are applicable to corporations, including debarment and suspension from government contracting or delicensing, like arthur anderson, so i can tell you the accepted wisdom in the defense bar is, don't even think about resisting a government overtour for a plea in a corporate context, and now the government is just going with what are called dps, not even resolving cases criminally because that's too difficult, so the department of justice reaches a civil resolution. >> thank you. justice for the committee, i just think that something that we should think, especially on our side of the aisle -- as conservatives we should be very concerned about the state having so much power that criminal defense phones are afraid to go to trial because they know that actually they take more risk going to trial than defending
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liberty and property and the things that the government should not easily take away from defendants. thank you very much. i yield back my time. >> i'm told we'll be voting between 10:20 and 10:30. excuse me. gentleman from georgia, mr. johnson. >> thank you. it's not so much the sheer volume of criminal laws on the books and how they are apportioned among the various titles of the u.s. code. it's really a matter of what is the impact over over criminalization on society. and i think that from the standpoint of how the committee should approach this issue, i think we should do it in a piecemeal fashion as opposed to an overall solution, because it would simply take too much time
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to get at the worst aspects of overcriminallization and in my mind, it has to do with the realm of drug prosecutions, and to taked back on one of the issues that mr. labrador raised, the defendant's ability to take a case to trial. anytime you can get a two to three percent base offense -- excuse me -- offense level downward, departure, for acceptance of responsibility, then it means that if you go to trial, then you are going to be deprived of that downward departure, and in fact you would probably end up at the top end if you dared to go to trial and
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then testify. so, you actually get punished for having a trial and taking the stand and testifying. you may do so because you feel like you're not guilty. bud you end up get can punished on top of the base offense level, you'll get punished for going to trial. so that's one thing we can do easily to address mr. labrador's concern, but when it comes to the overall sentencing guideline concept, what we have is the transfer of discretion from the
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judge, in terms of disposition, to the prosecutor, in terms of charging. so, a prosecutor can decide to charge a person with a crime that has the base offense level higher than perhaps one that would be better suited for the conduct alleged, and so with that prosecutorial decision being made, it limits the judge how best to dispose of the case, taking into mind the crime itself, the condition of the victim, the status of the defendant or criminal history. those kinds of things. i think we can get to those kinds of issues and address the problems that president obama
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highlighted yesterday, with his call for this -- money brother's keeper con -- my brother's keeper concept that would keep so manning young black males -- so many young black males -- enhance their ability to become first-class citizens of society as opposed opposed to this -- us second-class citizenship which some call jim crow. would anyone comment on that? >> thank you, mr. johnson. i -- your comments raised a couple of points. one is the issue of collateral consequences. it relates to what we were discussing and what mr. bachus alluded to. the impact of collateral consequences particularly on
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those who were convicted of lower level nonviolent drug offenses is just tremendous, and there's a project underway right now, under the auspices of the department of justice, being conducted by the mesh -- american bar association, to essentially catalogue all of the consequences and so policymakers and lawmakers can understand the implications of the criminalization they engage in when they make these criminal laws. >> gentleman's time is expired. last but not least the gentleman from new york, mr. jeffreys. >> thank you, mr. chair, and thank the witnesses for their very thoughtful testimony. it seems that as it relates to the problem of overcriminallization that this task force is encountering, there are potentially three areas of exploration as it relates to the problem we seek to address.
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you have a tremendous explosion of the federal criminal code, as it relates to regulatory offenses, relates to drug offenses, spanning a wide spectrum. you have limitations on judicial discretion, perhaps inconsistent with the view of an independent judiciary as a third branch but coequal branch of government, and then i think a related issue that some of you have begun to mention and some of my colleagues have talked about during their time, is prosecutorial overreach. that third area, prosecutorial overreach, seems to be enhanced by -- or made more difficult by both an explosion of the federal criminal code and a limitation on judicial expression. so i'd be interested in perhaps start with mr. cline -- how do we deal with the problem of
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prosecutorial overreach and the imbalance or the harm that is caused by it and the imbalance and the threat to liberty when you have an overly aggressive prosecutor taking advantage of the explosion of federal crimes and in certain instances the limitation of judicial discretion. >> let me start by distinguishing between prosecutorial misconduct and prosecutorial overreach. misconduct is the failure to turn over exculpatory information. improper comments in closing argument. i take it that's not a what you're talking about. what you're docking about is prosecutors using the tools they have to extort -- i use that word advisedly -- harsh fremonts to coerce defendants into not going to trial. i don't view that necessarily as anything bad on the part of prosecutors. they're advocated and want to win their cases and they use the
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tools available to them. the key is, many of those tools i view as unfair. mandatory minimums are a perfect example but there are others as well. the whole dock doctrine of wilful bottom lineness, some aspects of the sentencing guidelines, forfeitures. there are tools prosecutors have they should not happen. you've take the tools away and level the playing field, i think you'll see many fewer instances of prosecutorial overreach. another example, by the way, -- >> i appreciate that distinction. i want to hone in on it for a second as well as the thing that can be done to deal with prosecutorial overreach. as it relates to misconduct, the withholding of exculpatory evidence, do you think the law currently has sufficient incentives built into it to punish or deter prosecutorial misconduct? >> absolutely not. i realize that's not the topic of this hearing but i feel strongly that discovery reform
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is necessary. brady is not working. >> i completely agree. there have been scandal after scandal after scandal on the brady front. i agree with your point about prosecutorial discretion. the difficulty, of course, it constitutionally be very difficult for congress to constrain their discussion directly, and that is why we all think tort reform is such a good thing. because you can affect their discretion by affecting what tools they have. >> well, if i can make a comment. >> yes. >> the best way to constrain what you see as prosecutorial overreach is to have a clean code, a enclosed that doesn't allow stacking, doesn't allow multiplicity of offenses. one act can result in ten charges. it shouldn't work that way. you should have the ability to constrain that discretion. one important point is that
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senator kennedy was probably the biggest proopinion net of the guidelines for fear of what he saw was racial discrimination in terms of the sentencing. now what's interesting about that question, i think, you're going to have human error and human bias in any judicial system, and oning there for us all to explore is whether we think that the human error, human bias, is more likely or more dangerous when vested in the prosecutorial area, or whether it's more likely or more dangerous when found in the judicial branch? i think the founders built a system as it relates to lifetime tenure that was designed to mitigate at least the possibility of human bias in the judiciary, and that's something that we should all think about, and i yield back. >> gentleman's time is expired. well, i think this has been another very interesting hearing
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that this task force has had. we have a lot of ideas. i get back to the fact that i think the challenge of getting this done is to have the first step be policy-neutral. so, with that happy admonition, without objection, the task force is adjourned. [inaudible] conversation -- [inaudible] confidence [inaudible] discussion [inaudible] [inaudible conversations]
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>> on newsmakers, iowa senator tom harkin talks about the debate over raising the minimum wage. the chair-at the health, education and labor committee, and the author of the bill that would set the minimum wage at 10.10 an hour. >> in december of '41 and almost immediately people start talking about what is to be done with the enemy alien population,
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which includes germans and japanese and italian foreign nationals who are enemy aliens. so the japanese-american population in general on the west coast, they were rounded up en masse and had to leave their homes of they lived in what was called the western defense zone. so they were forced to leave and put in camps surrounded by barbed wire and were not charms with anything. west coast nonjapanese americans, most newspapers strongly supported the removal of japanese-americans. a very popular policy. the civil rights organizations which were largely based back east didn't pay much attention to it. in all of the major jewish newspapers on the west coast there were weeklies with editorials talking about how the rights of all have to be protected and we should fight prejudice in all of its forms and so on and so forth, without
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ever saying the word japanese specifically so it was almost as if they wanted to say something but were nervous about actually doing so. so there was a kind of awkward silence or an uncomfortable silence around this issue. that i started to investigate more. >> this weekend, booktv and american history tv look behind the history life of salem, oregon, on saturday, and sunday. >> the new web site makes it easier than ever for you to keep tabs on washington, dc and share your finds via facebook, twitter, and other social networks. easy search functions let you access our daily coverage of events, new tools make it simple to create short video clips and share them with your friends via facebook, twitter, and other social networks, or send links
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to your video clips via e-mail. find the share tools on our video player or look for the green icon links throughout our site. watch washington on the new and if you see something of interest, clip it, and share it with your friends. >> the u.s. census bureau recently released a report focused on the number of people living in the u.s. under the age of 35 who are not registered citizens. next a closer look at the report from this morning's washington journal. >> this morning on "the washington journal" we want to look at a new u.s. census study on noncitizen pop -- populations, joining us is the firmer commissioner of the u.s. immigration and naturalization service, and elizabeth with the u.s. census bureau in charge of
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the foreign-born population branch. elizabeth greeko, what is this new study? >> the new study is titled noncitizens under the age of 35. that may be a little confusing to people but we're looking at young noncitizens in the united states and these are people who are not yet citizens, they may have green cards, they may be here on temporary visas, they could be -- >> what is the importance of this study? >> guest: we think this is an important group. this is first time we have dawn study on this population. what is interesting is you think about this is the population, young people that have been here four years, five years, ten years, come here to work, come here to be students. many of these people will eventually become u.s. citizens. not all of them but many of them. so this research is about the potential or the possible future of citizens in the united states. >> host: this is it the first time the census study was done. >> guest: on this topic.
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>> host: doris meisner, former ins commissioner and now head of the migration policy institute. before we get into the numbers and everything, when you think about noncitizens under the age of 35, what are the policy implications? >> a lot of policy i can implications, maybe the first one has to do with the fact that this is a younger population that is going to -- where we want to be looking ahead to be sure that they are productive as possible, contributing to the society as fully as possible, and where we recognize when we're going to you the -- going through the numbers that they represent a larger share of our younger population than do the native-born. so they're very important to us in terms of the demographics of this country, which is that we are aging and we are from our native born population not producing as many younger workers as we are through immigration. >> let's look at some of the
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numbers now that we have gotten that out of the way. noncitizens under the age of 35. 10.3 million noncitizen is total in the u.s. correct? legal and illegal. >> this is typically noncitizens under the age of 35. >> okay. >> for the total population, it is actually about 22.3 million total noncitizens altogether. but the 10.3 are just the under 35 population. >> that equals three percent of the u.s. population. >> yes. >> seven percent of the population under 35, which doris meisner was referring to. 80% between 18 and 34 years old. 64% from latin america, 23 percent from asia, and then 55% live in the big five, california, texas, new york, florida, and illinois. what percentage or the 10.3 million are here illegally?
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>> does not collect data on legal status. we have citizens and noncitizens. while the noncitizen population includes the various legal statuses we don't have specific data to separate out who is here illegally and who is here legally. >> doris meisner, according to the census bureau, 52% of those 10.3 million entered the u.s. before age 18. >> yes, and that leads to some inferences we perhaps can make here. as liz said the census bureau does not collect these numbers s and doesn't validate them but a lot of scholars outside try to do so, and so i would think that it's fair to say that perhaps about half from the best that we can tell analytically, perhaps about half of this age group is in an unauthorized status.
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probably the other half, and this really is just a rough breakdown but i think it's probably fair one. the other half are mixture of lawful permanent residents, foreign students, people on longer term visas who are festival in a temporary status but might become permanent residents. so, this does have a real connection in policy terms to broader debates that are taking place and to what it is that the congress has been looking at. we hope will look at again in the future in terms of immigration reform. >> what is the u.s. policy when it comes to underage, unauthorized illegal citizens or people in this country? is there a special policy or-they treated just -- >> they're treated just as everybody else is. there, of course, has been a big debate about possible legislation called the dream act, because many of these people came here, this idea of
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having come under age 18, many of them will have come here with their parents. they did not themselves choose to come in an unauthorized fashion. and they are a young population that is going to school, graduating from high school, they're then blocked to a great extent from going to college because they are prohibited from paying in-state tuition, they're in an unauthorized status, and yet they are really important source of talent, and productivity for us as a country into the future. >> we have put the numbers on the screen if you want to par temperatures pate in our conversations.
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>> elizabeth, 52 percent entered in the u.s. before age 18. 61% entered the u.s. five years ago or more. 33%, aged 18 to 24, were enrolled in college. what do you mean, were enrolled in college? >> this is when we used data because they were checked in the past, we normally write in the past tense. >> 75 percent between the ages of 25 and 34 were in the civilian work force. what work did these noncitizens under age -- by the way, did you do anything on their english speaking ables. >> with did not. we focused -- one thing we did look at is their occupation. if you want to show a slide. >> go ahead. >> this slide shows the occupation of the population age
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25 to 34, and the red bar at the top of the slide refers to information from noncitizens, the blue barty bottom at the bottom of the slide is citizens, naturalized foreign born and the native born. so over half of the employed noncitizens in this group work in service and management occupations, especially 27% in service, 25% in management professional and related occupations, and 20% in natural resources, construction, maintenance, occupations. this is considerably different than young nonnieses -- citizens age 25 to 34. 39% work in management and 25% in sales and office occupations, and one of the most interesting differences on the slide is only nine% of the citizens work in natural resources, construction and maintenance, compared with over 20% of noncitizens in this age group.
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>> doris meisner, what does this slide tell you? what do these figures toll you? -- telephone you. >> it's actually a very typical immigrant picture and a very representative depiction of what our economy is today, where the foreign-born vis-a-vis the native born are working. immigrants tend to be complimentary to the native-born work force, particularly at the higher end and at the lower end of the labor market. our economy has produced very large shares of service-oriented jobs, and immigrants tend to includesser in those occupations. so -- cluster in those occupations. so this is not a surprising picture at all. it also does show you how people progress in upward mobility terms across the labor market and job ladder as they get legal
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status and become naturalized citizens, which goes back to the point of where it is that we have a really compelling national interest in the possibilities of these people advancing and being as productive as possible. >> about two-thirds of young noncitizens were from latin america with about one-fourth from asia. 64%, last continue america and the caribbean, 23% from asia, and then europe, africa, and other regions. any reason that these two regions were much higher percentages? >> well, we looked at the green bar underneath, the naturalized citizen population, you can see that we have always had -- well, within recent history, always had a lot of immigration from latin america, immigration from asia is increasing but if you look at the comparative
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distribution of the naturalized citizens, the foreign born and latin american and caribbean tend to naturalize as a lower proportion, and the asia foreign born have a higher -- more likely to naturalize and that will explain differences in the distribution between citizens and naturalized it? s. >> doris meisner if a child is born her and his parents are here illegal or unauthorized, whatever term you want to use, is that child a u.s. citizen automatically? >> yes. if you're born in the united states, you're automatically u.s. citizen native born. >> doesn't matter where as long as within the property of the united states or borders of the united states. >> correct. >> let's take some calls. we'll begin with kathleen in colorado. >> caller: hi. i'm in boulder, colorado, and i lived here 40 years ago and just recently moved back.
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and i wanted to ask the definition between -- i'm not quite getting the clarity on what the difference is between noncitizen and illegal immigrant, and then i want to ask, hear in boulder, i'm not a rich or a pot smoker -- in poulter i talk to a lot of noncitizen immigrants, maids, child care, construction workers, a lot of construction going on here and a lot of people from -- latin america. ...-- some of these women who ae doing childcare and cleaning are making pathetic wages. how can we make sure they are getting paid good wages? you seldom hear about fines who are people -- for people who are
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illegals? employing host: elizabeth grieco, do you want to start? guest: sure. this table shows citizenship. the second column is numbers and millions, the third column is percent distribution. the foreign-born is made up of naturalized citizens and noncitizens. citizens are foreign-born and came to the united states and have become u.s. citizens. manytizens include those different legal statuses. green cards, temporary workers and students, humanitarian --
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they also include the unauthorized. in the totalzed is of noncitizens. host: 22 million noncitizens in the u.s.. u.s.,n-born in the currently, the population is about 40 million. guest: yes. ,ost: doris meissner noncitizens, 22 million. what number would you put at illegal or unauthorized? about 11obably million, somewhere between 11-12,000,000. closer to 11 million. unauthorized in the country. in this study, the census is looking at the portion that is under the age of 35. there is a substantial unauthorized population and we need to fix that. host: how would the dream act
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affect the unauthorized? guest: it would touch only a certain worsham of the unauthorized population. possibly 2fect million of that 11 million, depending on how it would be written. whos trying to touch people are under the age of 35 and who are studying and in school and give them a faster opportunity for legal status and citizenship. it has not been enacted. , any elizabeth grieco estimate of this population's contribution to gdp? guest: i don't have those numbers with me. host: doris meissner, does your group put together those numbers? host: i don't know if one could know that. know if oneon't could know that. people are more productive and
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able to pay more taxes with legal status. you will get greater contributions from naturalized citizens. call from north carolina. semantics that are being used by the two guests are truly mind boggling. the dream act? can be anotheram person's nightmare, particularly if you're a construction worker trying to get a job and you get outbid on contracts because all of the guys i know in construction, every time they show up there is another crew of illegals and workers who will pay half price. american workers cannot compete because they get paid cash under the table. me,uld like to know, excuse , it enter a bank illegally
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is not called unauthorized entry into a bank, is that? host: we got your point. doris meissner, dream act, unauthorized versus illegal. guest: dream act is a name that congress gave to a piece of legislation. that is what the sponsors have called it and that is why it is referred to in that way. as for the broader question , iut level playing field think the caller has a very important point. as long as we have an economy where it is possible for and pays to hire people them at the bottom of the wage scale, there will be unfair competition. that is a symptom of a brokenness in our symptom that can only be addressed i
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immigration laws that are more -- by immigration laws that are more suited with today's economy and congress has been stuck on passing anything that deals with those problems. illegal,uthorized, undocumented. guest: the term unauthorized is the official term for the census. they tend to get used interchangeably. come to theave country illegally have definitely broken the law. they are in an illegal status. the phenomenon is one of an unauthorized population. the language does bother some people, but those are the official terms. host: elizabeth grieco, california had the greatest number of citizens under age 35
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-- noncitizens under the age of 35. california had 2.3 million. texas next. illinois.florida, why? statesthese top five that hold over half of the younger noncitizens also hold over half of the foreign-born population of the united states. young noncitizens tend to go where the rest of the foreign-born are. guest: this is an enormous concentration, but it is much less of a concentration than it would have been 20 years ago. ago, about 75% of the foreign-born would have been in these locations. we are seeing a much broader distribution of immigrants and foreign-born populations throughout the country. great in california.
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go-ahead with your questions and comments. caller: good day. come aboute ladies with the term noncitizen when we all know that the majority are illegal immigrants? americaamazes me when can arrest its own citizens and give them a felony and hear young, so-called noncitizens, which are illegal immigrants, have already broken our laws, what is our government doing with these lawbreakers? if you break the law you are rewarded? it is amazing how president act, he is his dream giving these lawbreakers and advantage over the disadvantaged citizens minority is.
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on top of that, jobs. these people are taking jobs from americans. host: i think we got your point. doris meissner, the same spirit we got from north carolina. well, we have a set of immigration policies where historically large numbers of people are being deported from this country. we deport 400,000 people per year. almost 4 million people will have been deported from the country. this is being vigorously root and forced. -- enforeced. a the end of the day, we as country need immigration going into the future because of demographic changes, growth and
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productivity issues, laker market -- labor market competition. you need a modern immigration laws that reflect our economic needs, that certainly balance out where foreign-born and nativeborn can mutually be productive, but until we have more national, modern laws, all of the enforcement in the world is not going to matter to deal with this problem because we have a mismatch between the laws that are being enforced and the economic realities on the ground that we are facing as a country. host: elizabeth grieco, two maps. let's explain what we are looking at. the first map is the percent total population and a metro area that are under the
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age of 35. the metro areas have the highest population of younger noncitizens. a lot of the california coast. the darker areas are 8% or more of noncitizens of the total populations that are under the age of 35. that is pretty substantial. the metro areas of san jose, santa barbara, and los angeles. you also see some of the new destination areas. these are in metro areas in georgia, north carolina, atlanta , chicago. chicago is a traditional area of immigration. atlanta, charlotte, northern virginia, d.c. -- these are the newer destination areas that have been appearing after 1990 and after 2000. host: why those areas after
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2000? guest: economic growth and job opportunities. host: we have one more map to use as comparison. populationeign-born by area. how was this map different and why is it significant? guest: this map is really fun because it shows the percent of the foreign-born population that is from the young noncitizens. most of the dark areas are in the midwest and the south. most of the dark areas are also college towns. iowa state. college station. bloomington, indiana. host: i see purdue right there, it looks like. guest: if the cup. thaca. these are relatively speaking
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smaller areas, but a higher percentage of young noncitizens. alabama.urn, what are these younger noncitizens doing in auburn, alabama? most of them are college towns, so a lot of them are internationalist students. a lot could be researchers or teaching classes at the universities, young professors. that goes to the point that the earlier caller made. is a very mixed population. one tends to draw on the unauthorized element of this. but this is made up of lots of different categories of people. rv sayse categories that have to do with either important, are
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particularly in math and science and innovation areas, as well as foreign students, international students who are studying here. phenomenon is a clear indication of that part of this population. host: ken, kentucky. caller: i have a question and a comment. i was in the military for 28 years. one of the things we worried about was stretching ourselves too thin based on our finite resources. i am talking about health care services, schools, and everything like that. my question is -- and that is what i worry about with the immigration, we need controlled immigration. he should be able to choose the best of the best coming in. we don't need to take everybody. a specific question and i will get out of your way. you say you have a kid and the ratio of students was one to 20.
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now you have millions of poor people in this country. now it is one to 40. would you accept that? we need to control the growth and influx into our country rather than say 10 million people, now you are part of it. what is next? you used to weigh 45 minutes to go to the emergency room, now you might be waiting two hours, three hours, or two weeks to see the doctor rather than three or four days. that is my concern, to control the growth. we need immigration, but we have to control the influx and we have to be smart about it. we cannot give a blanket statement to everybody that you are welcome here, but you are welcome here as long as you follow the rules. host: ken in kentucky. doris meissner. guest: i think the caller makes a very good point. we should be doing immigration in a controlled fashion, in a way that serves what we
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determine to be our needs. we do not have that kind of system in place at the present time and only congress can fix it. , how didis meissner you get into the world of immigration? guest: [laughter] by accident. the way most people fall into what they do. i have been working with immigration since 1975. host: under the gerald ford administration. i was asked to look at some immigration issues. host: it was just by happenstance or not your background? guest: i was a policy analyst. it stuck with me. host: you became the ins commissioner during the clinton administration? guest: yes. fw librarian tweets in -- what would be the policy implications of that?
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i think that is not going to happen. congress will not do that. a durable system for a long time. if people are here illegally for , they are eligible to apply for citizenship as long as they have not violated any laws, have learned to speak english, and are familiar with the civics and system of government of our country. that is a system that has proved very, very effective. people whoe putting are here as noncitizens into a legal framework where they can do that. right now, we have a very large population that is prevented from doing that. yes, they have violated the law.
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yes, they should be accountable for that. but at the end of the day, it is unrealistic to imagine that we can remove them all from the country and a large share of them are contributing to our economy, to our communities in positive ways. of thelizabeth grieco census bureau, from all of the stats you have gathered here, what are the trends going forward? do you do that kind of work as well? thet: i do not do projections work, but we have projections. say that since about 1990, 2 thousand, the noncitizen population has declined a bit. i have some numbers over here. that i brought with me. for example, the number of noncitizens has increased for decades, but the percent of the total population, it was about -- by 2012 it2000
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was about 54% of the total population. as a percent of the foreign-born population, the noncitizen population is coming down. continue, well will have to see. it is hard to predict immigration, because it is so dependent on what we decide to do legislatively. it can be changed overnight by even policies by mexico and canada, immigration, depending on how many people want to come in. host: roger is calling from iowa. caller: hi. ladies if ask the they know a gentleman by the name of chris crean? he is president of the national ice counsel. , iee weeks ago tomorrow asked to see him on an interview
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and because of the order of the dream act by the president, he receiving upe are to 50,000 children across the border, whether it is called the parent dump, they put their kids across the border because of the executive order that the president issued, were you cannot ask these kids for ids or anything. that pretty much get a free pass. two, remember when president reagan gave amnesty in 1986. -- back then there was one million that was supposed to be here illegally. host: we are almost out of time. doris meissner nodded her head when you mentioned that
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gentleman's name. i do know who chris crean is. about a phenomenon taking place on the southwest border right now. is the only real increase in illegal crossings, particularly now in texas it is coming from people from central america. an important share of that our young people, unaccompanied minors. it is a dire humanitarian situation and the whole increase in numbers from central america are really an indication of increasing violence and increasing gang activity and a lack of protection and defense of government presence in the of the and el salvador, guatemala and honduras particularly. this does not have to do with
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u.s. border policies. this has to do with dire circumstances in countries to the south. unfortunately, it is one of the elements of illegal immigration that is very difficult for government authorities to respond to. , i wantizabeth grieco to go back to this chart. we have one minute left. i want to go over the numbers one more time. 10.3 million noncitizens under the age of 35 in the u.s.. that represents 3% of the total population. tell me if i am wrong. 311,000,000.6 is the current population. -- 92.8% are u.s. citizens. that, 271n of million.
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87% are native born. naturalized citizens, 18 million. the population. when you combine that with the non-foreign-born -- noncitizens is 40.5 million. are under the age of 35, the group we are talking about today. of 35lion under the age noncitizens. over the age of 35 is 12 million. 3.8%. .hat is a lot of numbers i just wanted to get those back on the table. head of theieco is foreign-born populations branch at the u.s. census bureau. doris meissner from -- former on the next washington journal the upcoming primary in texas
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and illinois. and the special election in florida. we'll talk with cooke political report house editor david wasserman. a look at proposed changes on packaged foods by the fda. joined by american university. "washington journal" is live every morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern. with your calls, tweets, and facebook comments. on c-span. coming up tonight an event recognizing the brady handgun violence protection act. 20 years on. a look at some of the changes proposed in the federal criminal code. later a discussion about the number of people living in the u.s. under the age of 35 who are not registered citizens. the topic of a recent report by the u.s. census bureau.
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today the brady campaign to prevent gun violence recognized the 20th anniversary of the so-called brady law which created federal background checks on license dealers in the u.s. it took place on capitol hill and highlighted some of the laws' benefits since enacted in 1994. this is 40 minutes. good morning, and welcome. i'm dan gross, president of the. i am d tdeny campaign to prevent gun violence, and we're very pleased to be here to commemorate the to we a anniversary of the brady law and to release our new pleae report. to before we get to those things. d we want to begin by showing why we are all here.w. why our commission want to star why we are here and why the mission is imp is ictim of senseless
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gun violence. this is kenny, jr. he was killed september 24, 2001 right here in washington, d.c. on the corner of 11th and u-street northwest. a victim of senseless gun violence. >> good morning. i am eddy wine and on february 2nd 1981 my mother was shot to death in front of me and the gun was turned on me but luckily it malfunctioned. i am here with other victims to
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demand the job be finished. >> i am dr. crystal and i am here on behalf of my husband who was robbed and murdered on august 11th, 1972 in the streets of east orange, new jersey. it seems like yesterday. my family still misses him. on behalf of other families, let's finish the job. >> i am peter reed my daughter mary was one of 32 students and faculty who were shot to death on april 16th, 2007 at virginia tech. we believe with better
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background these tragedies can be prevented. >> my name is raven burgess. i am a survivor of gun violence. i was shot may 29th, 2013. i am here to promote and help ensure that this ends. thank you. >> my name is alex and i'm here on behalf of my sister who was killed by a stalker who purchased a gun on the internet without any kind of background check. i can here to help prevent this from happening like to anyone else. >> i am cheryl and i am here in honor of my husband who was the
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northwestern basketball coach. he was killed in 1999 by a man who was a convicted felon but inspin spite of that was able to buy a gun without a background from a licensed dealer. >> i am sarah brady and i am here on behalf of jim brady who was wound on the assassination attempt of ronald regan. >> i am dan gross and i am here for my brother matthew who was shot in the head on top of the
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empire state building and for the 90 americans who are killed every day by a bullet and for everyone of else who wants to live in a safer nation. today we are here to mark the o 20-year anniversary of what could be called the greatest step forward toward a goal of a safer nation. the brady handgun violence act took affect 20 years ago. to introduce this special report that we have issued to celebrate the success of the legislation and to define the critical work that is ahead. 20 years of background checks and keeping america safer. i would like to thank the special guest. the victims and families that
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have joined us here today. i speak for all of the us here and so many across american when i say how much you inspire us to continue our work. our very important partners from the law enforcement community. and we really appreciate your strong representation here today. your voices are very important in these efforts. our elected leaders who are representing the voice of the american public on this issue in congress. leader pelosi and representative thompson thank you for everything you do. some of the presidedecessoprede brady law. gale hoffman is here we thank
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you for everything you did 20 years ago and put us in this position to celebrate everything you helped us to accomplish. our partners from other organizations that are represented here devoted to gun violence, our brady and million mom march chapters that are the boots on the ground making the voice of the american public heard and of course, sarah brady and her husband jim who is here in spirit as you know, sarah. it is sarah and jim's legacy of success that brings us here. on this day, 20 years ago, the brady law took affect. it changed what was a line buy system that allowed dangerous people easy access to weapons.
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thanks to the brady law, the work of this administration, every federal seller runs a background check. the numbers speak for themselves. background checks have blocked more than 2 million gun purchases by felons and domestic abu abusers. in fact, brady background checks block 343 attempts every day. this includes 171 attempts by felons denied every day. 48 domestic abusers denied every day. 19 fugitives denied every day. background checks work and countless lives have been saved and crimes prevented. you only need to look to the
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dramatic decline of homicide since the law went into place. a lot has changed in the world in 20 years and there are new loopholes that would allow people that would be denied because of the brady law to get guns. this includes gun shows and significantly, to many most alarmingly, it includes the internet which no one could have imagined when the brady law passed. thousands of guns are bought and sold every day with background checks. you can find guns on where at this very moment you can go on there and there are up
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to 70,000 guns for sale without background checks. many are promoted that you can buy there. facebook and instagram are now poplar places to buy and sell guns. the looppholes are very real an chronicled in the report. like the story of zina daniel. she obtained a restraining order from her husband so he could not buy a gun at a federally licensed dealer. instead he purchased a 40-caliber from an unlicensed seller online and used that gun to murder zina and two
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co-workers in 2012. the stories of zina and alex's sister are told in this report. more than any statistics, these tragedies underscore the importance of your work and why we cannot and will not give up until we finish the job and expand brady background checks to all gun sales so others don't have to experience the tragedy and loss that these families and too many others have and so we can all live in the safe nation. the murder of rickey birdsong is in the report. and i am here to introduce his wife to share the story in her own words >> i met rickey when i was 16.
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we were juniors in high school. i knew he was the man for me. we graduated from college and me began a 19 year career as a basketball coach. we ended up in evanston, illinois. on july 2nd, 1999 the american dream we had been living became the american nightmare who a young man who was a member of a neo-nazi hate group came through my neighborhood and as my husband was outside jogging and my 8-year-old son on his bike and 10-year-old daughter on her roller blades. this man came through and
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sprayed bullets at the three of them. one of them struck my husband and he did die. and as the news spread about rickey being shot and calls were coming to me and people were asking, you know, and they just assumed knowing the nature of the work he did, he was on the south side of chicago. when i said he was just a block from our home, they were like what? that is unbelievable. it is unbelievable. and now i think about a lot of random acts of gun violence that it can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. at a mall, in the movies, at school, walking in your neighborhood, your quite neighborhood.
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and i am just hopeful that one day, and that day comes soon in america, when no dangerous person can buy a gun so these random acts of gun violence can be prevented. thank you. >> i had the pleasure of getting to know cherylin and she has what is one of the most important jobs you can have. she is a teacher. it is her day job as well as her very important extra curriclar job. i want to thank you for everything you do to help teach our nation not only of the tragedy of gun violence, but how it is preventable by keeping guns from dangerous hands.
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and having the courage to share your story again and again until everyone that needs to be taught is thought. thank you for sharing that. it is my honor to introduce the person whose job we are really here to finish. the person who together with her husband jim, their names are on the original law we have here to celebrate, and somebody i can tell you being in the halls serves at what can be achieved. sarah brady. >> thank you, dan. and i want to thank all of the people who are such a great help over the years. victi
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victims, over the last 25 years, i have seen more victims of gun violence i would ever want to count. law enforcement has been totally behind us and with us and fought for us. and this is chief jim johnson here. we also always have to thank the leaders in congress. and speaker pelosi has been there, as has representative thompson and we thank you for your leadership in this area. it took us seven years to get the brady law enacted. three presidents. and it was hard work. but it was a very uplifting thing to do. every day we were working on it, we knew that we were going to win. it was a david and goliath-type
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of issue. and it didn't take long for the american public, and the press, to realize how hard a fight it was for us. but we kept it up, and with the help of my friend gale over there, she was with me every day as we tromped the halls of congress meeting with the members and working in their districts and going back to our targeted members' districts and speaking and doing editoral meetings. it was hard work. but it was fun. and we were so proud of the day it passed in '91 and then had to repass to years later.
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it was signed by president clinton and became law 20 years ago. i want to encourage everybody in the future that is working on this important issue, and it is important to include all sales in the background checks and you have just heard the reasons by, several examples of the internet and gun shows. i want to encourage everybody that just because there is public outcry doesn't mean we will get the bill passed. it takes work, time, and it takes persistance and we will will again. it will be a proud day. and i am going to come back the day it passes and i promise i will not leave until then. [ applause ]
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>> and jim wanted me to give everybody a big hello. he is sorry he could not be here. but it is hard for him to travel anymore. for those of you who helped us, thank you so very much. for those of you on the brady staff, dan, president and everybody else working on it, i see they have got the same excitement so we are going to win and we are going to finish the job. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you, sarah. one of the more inspiring things, in addition to the success, is how much fun you had. we plan to continue that in the pursuit of the change. as those charged with the protection and safety of the community, no support for
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expanded background checks than the law enforcement community. it was instrumental in passing the first law and it will be critical to finish the job. i am pleased to announce baltimore county police chief and chair of the national law enforcement chair to prevent gun violence, chief jim johnson. [ applause ] >> good morning. it is quite an honor to speak on behalf of law enforcement. i am part of the chair to prevent gun violence. we are an alliance of nine other organizations including the
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international association of campus law enforcement administrat administrators, the major city chief association, the national association of women law enforcement executives, the national organization of black law enforcement executives, the police executive research forum and the police foundation. you can see the influence of this broad spectrum. i am proud to stand here with sarah brady who along with her husband jim had made a remarkable contribution to the nation. law enforcement worked hard to get the brady law enacted unquestionably this law has had an impact on safety. you have saved my fellow police
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officers and sit citizens across america. they blocked more than 2 million prohibited gun purchases. there is no way to quantify the loss that could have resulted from this. but we have heard the impact. i think it is safe to say these two million guns could have resulted in two million injuries. there remains other avenues to purchase these items. i lost an officer due to a legally obtained firearms. up to 40% of firearms take place
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between private partners without licensed dealing and require no background check. this is like allowing 40% of passenger to board an airplane without going through security screening. the honor system doesn't work at airports and doesn't work with guns. we ask require background checks for all sales. it is just that simple. our lives depend on this. thank you. >> thank you, chief. our next speaker is one of the great leaders in congress on this issue and the expansion of background check.
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representative mike thompson, share of the house task force and along with representative king of new york is chief sponsor of hr 1565, the house bill that the organization is working hard to support. representative thompson, on behalf of the one million supporters and all of the victims and families you see here, we appreciate all of the your leadership. [ applause ] >> thank you, dan. thank you very much for what you do. sarah, thank you. i love seeing you here. i wish we didn't, but you are such an important voice. chief, thanks for your public service and the courage to come out and do this. it take as big person to be willing to stand up and speak out on this issue. and leader pelosi, she has been fantastic. if it were speaker pelosi still,
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we would not be here because this bill would have been signed into law. for all of the families, victims/survivors, you are absolutely fantastic. the courage you show is important. we hear too often the numbers -- 12,000 people killed by someone with firearm since sandy hook. we are the 30-plus people a day killed by someone with a firearm. those numbers are numbing but they stand for the people and families we see standing with us. it effects the lives of real people in the tragic way. we need to do something about it. dan mentioned the bill i have are representative king, a republican from new york, we need to pass that bill. it is straightforward.
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it is pro-second amendment, it just requires people who purchase a firearm through a commercial sale, has to have a background check to make sure they are not criminals or mentally ill. sarah said it took six years and seven votes to pass the brady bill. that bill had 155 co-authors. if the speaker put our bill on the floor, it would take one vote to pass it. we have 189 co-authors. all we need is the vote and this thing would get passed and would pass today. we are not interested in quitting. i am proud to be here to join in
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the talk of we need to fix the job. thank you all very much. >> thank you, sir. and finally, i am honored to introduce someone who is one of the great leaders in this nation. and nowhere is that more evident than your fight nancy pelosi to end this sensible violence. her commitment is deep, and inspryer spiring. >> thank you, dan, for the introduction. i come here today with humility
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i come. sharing the stories again and again and turning grief to the safety for people. i wish the reason you are here didn't exist, but you are and thank you. to be with sarah and jim brady in the '90s was learning a lot. learning about the gospel where the the lord said ask and you shall receive, seek joand you wl find, knock and the door will be opened. that was the lesson of christ and that was the work of sarah and jim brady. they knocked on doors, sought out the votes and also with the greatest humor, and good will,
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and friendship never left their voices even though they, better than anything, knew the seriousness of the task. so the brady campaign with the leadership of dan gross has been a force for making a difference in the country. it is remarkable how many lives have been saved. and who would have thought the internet should be our friend but it would be something to facilitate background checks became a place where people can buy guns in an identified way. so we have to cover gun show and the internet. our friend mr. mike thompson working with peter king has a bi-partisan bill to do that. if we take this bill up on the
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floor, it will pass. the votes are there. the american people are more than there. 70% and even members of the nra agree with this piece of liege legislation. i am honored to be here with the chief, we speak baltimore, you hear? so i know when you say it takes courage, the courage it takes because baltimore county is a place where he is a leader and teacher on this subject. i had the pleasure of being with him when he was recognized with the violence against women act and these things come together as you described so well. thank you for your courage and leadership, chief. and mike thompson, a wounded veteran, a gun owner, a hunter,
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carolyn mccarthy said, i want to thank you for one thing and that is making thompson to head the task force. you know her commitment to that and that i think it is best compliment. i know we have the votes. we want to vote! we want to finish the job. when we do, in the house, it will pass in the senate. one of the excuses people use is it isn't going anywhere in the house so why vote in the senate. all we have to do is act. ask, seek, knock and that persistance will pay off. we are not going away. anybody who thinks we are celebrating an anniversary and tomorrow we go on to something else. we are not going on to something else. i asked my staff to bring this
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over. i had a visit from the boy scouts and they bring their annual report. there was a little boy who gave he his patch. his boy scout patch that says never forgotten sandy hook pack 170. he was a student at sandy hook. that little boy now integrating this into his boy scout life. that is wonderful but too bad it has to that. how can we possible face ourselv ourselves? we have taken oaths at the beginning of every congress. most people do in any public service to protect and defend. that is our oath. jim and sarah brady have helped us honor that other. we thank them for that.
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and thank them for the millions, who knows how many purchases would have resulted and how many injuries, but hundreds of thousands or millions. we thank them for that and for never going away. this is our responsibility to our children, this is our responsibility 42 to those that lost loved ones. imagine the courage of coming out and stirring all of the that up. i think it is almost unimagineable as a mother and grandmother. i hope with all of the humility in the world, how can we face you until we have legislation that improves the safety of the american people. so with the deepest gratitude to dan gross and sarah and jim
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brady turning their sadness to save lives. thank you, dan and all. >> thank you, pelosi and thoma thompson and everyone else. thank you for sharing your story. you are making a difference. our team is going to hand deliver this report to members of congress. so they can see for themselves the life-saving impact the brady law has it since starting 20 years ago. the fact is more than 2 million purchases have been blocked by felons, domestic abusers, fuge tfsh -- fugitives -- and other
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people we believe are dangerous. all thank thas to jim and sarah brady and the leaders in congress that helped us like pelo pelosi. but there is still a lot of work to be done. more than anything else, we hope these stories and this report, sends a call to action. one that can't be ignored for congress to finish the job and expand the background checks to all states. states that have expanded this, and you can quantify the impact we talked about, 38% fewer women are murdered by their partners. 39% fewer police officers are murdered with handguns. just think of the lives congress would be saved if congress would
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step up and follow the job. and change doesn't happening overnight, it took six votes over seven years to pass the original brady law. we have momentum on our side. make no mistake. momentum of the likes of which this issue hasn't seen in years. last year alone, eight states passed marriage gun reforms, including four more that passed new laws that required background checks and they will see 38% fewer women killed by partners and 39% fewer police officers killed with handguns. even the vote in the senate, even though it was looked as a defeat, it was heart breaking. sarah turned to me and said sometimes it take as good loss. and she was right.
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i am not saying -- i was starting to tear up and sarah was coming in at the end to console me. she is right. it caused attention to the american public. that is the tragedy that called our attention to what is going on in congress. the support we have seen, the 30,000 calls in the days following that vote. this is a campaign now. this isn't newton happened, change didn't happen and it is over. this is a campaign to finish the job and testimony to the fact we're not going anywhere until we do finish the job. and i will sum up and leave you with this: in the short time we spend together, brady back background checks have blocked
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14 gun sales to prohibited purchases like felons and dome t domestic abusers. but in the same amount of time, four more lives have been lossed and four more families have been introduced to the same tragedy you see here today. it is time to finish the job and expand brady background checks to all gun sales. we will be happy to disburse among you and answer questions and have conversations you might be interested in having. thank you for being here and thanks for everybody for participating. [ applause ]
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[inaudible conversations]
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annex on to say the president told president carter psyche is open to wasting until this year but this delay would not be without cost. while we still continue to plan to use trade and advise and assist the afghan security forces to conduct limited counterterrorism missions the scale has uncertainty that we also need to plan for the alternative of full withdrawal. there are those who foresee a repetition -- repetition of three years ago with a similar uncertainty read on dash led to complete from mistral.
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the iraqis did not want us or need us and signed the agreement no iraqi political figure would argue publicly for a continued american military presence. it had its own money. the u.s. had signed a legally binding agreement several years earlier committing the united states by the end of 2011. afghanistan is different in all respects. they want us to stay. they need us to stay if we signed an agreement committing to a long-term security partnership. with the importance of the security agreement and all other afghan leaders have
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reached the conclusion. it is not much of an exaggeration to say that the only prominent afghan to speaking out against the bilateral agreement. but iraq was much -- afghan is more dependent on our support. iraq is seen a slow increase in violence but it was not and is still not yet of the all-out civil war. in the absence to assist the u.s. nato military mission afghan descent into widespread violence and political disintegration is more rapid. the continuing need for american support lead our two governments to conclude
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a strategic partnership agreement of 2012 to immediately embarked on the bilateral security agreement in order to lay the groundwork for that aspect of our partnership. i see we know that most americans are tired of the afghan conflict. but most also recognize the need to withdraw gradually and responsibly. two-thirds of americans say the war was not worth fighting according to a recent poll. but 55 percent -- the margin of support is narrow the
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decision to leave open the possibility to conclude the necessary agreement to provide help with this can be worked out despite the continued refusal to conclude the agreement now. but i am afraid it could be costly. deaths from alzheimer's have increased 70% over 15 years. almost 5 million americans have alzheimer's and in five years 60 million will have the disease. the third reason simply is to show people they are not alone. so few people share personal stories i know that if me
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and my wife saw something like me talking about this it would make us feel a little less alone. americans whisper the word alzheimer's because their government does. although i whisper is better than the silence the community has been facing for decades is still not enough. i dream of the day when my charity is no longer necessary to go back going to me them lazy grandchild was meant to be. people look to their government to take more steps to provide some more. thi.
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>> next, we will talk about the federal code and what can be done to change it. this is an hour and a half. >> the over criminalization task force will come to order. the chair is >> lecter is authorized to declare a recess of any time. i recognize myself for the opening statement. o the over criminalization task force. we conducted a review of the problem and held four hearing
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focusing on the lack of requirement in the federal code and the probes -- problems -- with regulartory crime. we will expand for six months to talk about penalties, over federalization and the perspective of federal agencies. today's hearing will focus on criminal code reform. the criminal code is a mess. whether than an organized tool, the code is riddled with provisions that are updated, redundent or don't approach modern criminal law. this is due to the legislative in a vacuum in a poplar manner or a rapid response to a news
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story instead of thoughtfully. dmr it is difficult to use. the size and disorganization makes it difficult to fair out the law that applies to a particular situation. because we will be voting at 10:30 this morning and i doubt anybody is going to come back, i will ask for consent to put the rest of my statement in the record. and i will recognize the gentlemen from virginia, mr. scott. >> thank you. a code is defind as a systematic compilation of laws, rules and regulations that are consoli
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consolidated. the criminal code is anything but systematic. taking a clue from the chair, we asked the congressional research service to give us the most accurate count of the criminal provisions in the code. the initial response was that is too hard to do. we hope to hear from them in the future. but rather than time to utilize the research and drafting, we responded charging ahead with ill-failed tough on crime legislation in order to appease public opinion by addressing the crime of the day. we failed to use evidence-base
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things for example we use mandatory systems for drug laws even though evidence shows there is much more better ways to deal with this. i will put the rest of my statement in the record. >> with the same hint that mr. scott has taken, i will recognize the gentlemen from michigan, mr. conyers. >> thank you. i will follow the leads that have been set out for me. i just want to emphasis we have explosive growth of the cril criminal code. this hearing, among other
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things, is to determine how the criminal code should be modernized. and the cost i have detailed here in my opening statements. i am make more comments about it and put the rest into the record. and yield back the plans of my time. >> thank the gentlemen. all members of opening statements will appear in the record at this point. i will give abbreviated introductions of the guest. the first is the ceo of a volgove law group that has evidence in enforcement matter and an alumnist of the staff of
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the committee. julie is a professor and is a recognized expert in federal sentencing guidelines and white caller law. roger fairfax, jr. is a professor of law where he teaches and writes on criminal law and procedure. and mr. john cline practices in the law office of john cline in san francisco and he focuses on federal criminal defense at trial and appellate levels. he has tried nationwide and argued before a number of federal courts of appeals in the united states supreme court. without objection, your full statement will appear in the
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record. the chair is requesting witnessess confine the testimony to five years. you have experience with red, yellow and green lights. you know what they are. >> microphone? >> it is on. there it goes. thank you chairman, ranking members, and other task fort members. thank you for to opportunity to return. it is an honor to return to the committee and i am comfortable as addressing the chair as mr. chairman. it is also an honor to return to the committee to appear before ranking member scott, when whom i worked on many issues and
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bobby as well who contributed to the work. my years on the staff were some of the best. and now i welcome to opportunities to address the task force on criminal code reform. this issue is near and dear to my heart. mr. chairman, you have thread charge by introducing the criminal code modernization act. having worked on this legislation, i know the effort that is required to introduce this bill. it a huge task. your work represents the challenge. i want to commend your former staff director and i am sure there is no objection to that, hopefully. >> without objection so ordered.
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>> and legislative council doug who voted significant times for this effort as well as your staff in the last three congressional sentences. we can agree, the federal criminal code will continue to res resemble the united states tax code. each year, a new addition of the code, with a new color is delivered to lawyers. it equates to more crime here each. i am reminded of one of my favorite scenes from a movie called duck soup. the president of the mythical
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country is given a report. he is asked he understands and he replies of course i do, even a 4-year-old child do that. he starts to read and says run and get me a 4-year-old child. same for the code. no one makes heads of this. our citizens have no idea the scope of federal crimes no are they aware of the coverage of specific federal crimes. it is unusable and few of them provide clarity. the danger of the code is well-known as reflected in the
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charter of overcriminalization. it enables them to charge people with a variety of crimes and prosecutors can do this without violating the double jeopardy law. the federal codes needs to reflect three principles: it must be written clearly, secondly it must be concise and thirdly it must be acceptable. right now no one has the time to tackle, much less understand, the issues. the issues of reform is more serious to prevent improper use of smokey bear or protecting the
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emblem of the swiss signs. the code is used to obtain desired rights without intent. i urge you, as a former federal prosecutor and now a defense law lawyer and an alum of the staff, to represent the federal criminal code be reviewed, revised with the goal of clarity and playing consistent principles and reaching the number of federal crimes to produce the system of justice and respect federalism. let meg me go over the principles. i will submit my statement to the record. ...
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i don't think there's a question. the question is, what is to be done? i imagine this kumbiya moment is
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going to be fleeting. i assume it wil bak imagine the kumbaya how moment will be fleeting. once they get into thee specifics because the parties coming together now have the underlying values. the aclu is principally concerned equity , juvenile and harsh drug sentencing, and other groups are more concerned with federalism issues, over abundance of white collar offenses. what does this mean? once the actual process of cod reform begins, politics will become more contentious, and second, in light of that, it may be best to take the entire
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project on at once so those with different priorities will be forced to negotiate, horse trade, compromise, with the result we actually get something done. prior efforts to reform the code ended in frustration but eventually bore fruit. i believe the u.s. sentencing commission was created in part because one could not fix the code in the front end -- that is fix the actual code -- so the decision was made to rationalize the back end, rationalize the pun: issues sounding sentencing are are as contentious is november more con shen sunday than formulating a norm, but part of the processes it regularly calls in experts and solicited the views of all stakeholders and still does. many people are unhappy with the guidelines but that's in the nature of the enterprise. we're not going to make
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everybody happy. for present circumstances it's important the commission got the job done. that congress at least at that point was unable to do, and got the job done in a credible and expert fashion. with this in mind, i urge lawmakers to create a permanent expert, bipartisan body, perhaps this one, whose charge it is to overhaul and continuously respond to emerging issues and problems that percolate up from the court. this type of body is essential to ensure a devotion to this difficult task that otherwise may well ebb and flow with political seasons, at the tenure of committed members of congress, and the like. it would also provide the means by which consultation with all stakeholders and many experts could actually be constitutionalized. and this consultation is absolutely essential to the kind of credibility and viability of a revised code.
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it would also ensure uniform drafting and consistent use of mens rea terms and whoa allow congress to remedy more promptly problems from the statute. this expert body no doubt would have advised congress to respond faster than the 20 years it took the supreme court to decide that all the people who went -- not all but many of the people who win to jail for 20 years did not in fact commit a crime. obviously how such a body is structured, financed to whom it reports, the weight given its work suspect myriad other issues would have to be resolved consistent with constitutional and practical restraints but code reform may just be a fond dream without such a permanent commitment to the code. >> thank you very much.
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mr. fairfax. >> thank you for the kind invitation to participate in this hearing on criminal code reform. and at the outset i'd like to voice my appreciation for the hard work and dedication of the task force, the members of which are exhibiting exactly the kind of leadership and bipartisan cooperation necessary for the improvement of our nation's criminal justice system. i come to this topic as a former federal prosecutor who has handled cases brought under the federal criminal code and as an attorney who has defended individuals and corporations, charged under statutes in the code, and as a legal scholar who has dedicated much of his two, the improvement of the nation's laws and the justice name. and members of this task force have been instrumental in responding to the deficiencies of the federal criminal code. chairman sensenbrenner has introduced the act. and they held hearings
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soliciting views and concerns regarding the state of the federal criminal code. in many well-respected commentators have criticized the federal criminal code for excessive length, lack of organization, redundant provisions and outdated offenses. there also have been calls for certain substantive changes to the code, such as the bolstering of mens rea requirements this decriminalization of regulatory and other offenses, and the reduction in the number of mandatory minimum sentences. many of these and other critiques are persuasive and there's no doubt most observers would agree the federal criminal code is in need of reform. however, before we contemplate how congress might best streamline, re-organize, refine and modernize the federal criminal code, it's essential to draw lessons from past efforts, the seeds of federal code reform were sewn by the american law
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institute0s penal code with elegant organization and forecastsmanship and attention to principles of culpability. with the model penal code and president johnson's 1965 crime commission as a blackdrop, congress established in 1966 the national commission on the reform of federal criminal laws, commonly known as the brun commission. the 1971 final report of the brown commission proposed a new code, and this proposed code included a general part that set out definitions, offenses, principles for liability, and general standards for the exercise of federal jurisdiction, and containedded a comprehensive collection of all federal felony offenses. despite the brown commission's tremendous effort over four years the proposed comprehensive federal criminal code was
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